Music is the language of us all | Jack Marshall's column

Until the next tour. That’s the caption I wrote under my post on social media the last time I saw The Cat Empire live, which was two years ago.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:55 am
The Cat Empire @ the O2 in Bristol
The Cat Empire @ the O2 in Bristol

You may not have ever heard of The Cat Empire. In fact, you almost definitely haven’t. But they were my favourite band of all time.

And I say ‘were’ because they broke up recently.

This week’s column is all about self-indulgence (fine, it’s about self-indulgence every week). It’s about grievance and sadness. Genuine heartbreak.

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There’s not much else to say: I’m absolutely gutted. I feel childishly cheated, my instincts telling me to shout and say ‘no’ to make it all better.

I want to whine and whinge at them, to beg and barter until they agree to be a band again. These are grown men with lives and reasons behind their decisions, but I’m sat here just wanting things to go back to how they were.

I’m sure most people go through this experience: bands don’t last forever and The Cat Empire went for 20 years and seven albums - a breathtakingly prolific run in a famously unstable and capricious business.

I should be all ‘don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened’. But I’m not.

My toys are firmly out of my pram. When I saw the news, I went through the first four stages of grief - shock and denial, pain, anger, and depression - in about 12 seconds.

No, they haven’t. Why would they do this? How could they do this? Why have they done this to *me*?

The next stage is supposed to be an upward turn in mood before finally accepting the new reality. But I’m far, far away from that right now. No chance. I’m still quite comfy in my denial, hurt, fury, and sadness, thank you very much.

This is a band I’ve seen on every single UK tour they’ve done since 2014 (they’re Australian). A band I broke down in tears watching at a gig in Bristol. A band I’ve danced to with strangers in Manchester and Leeds whilst screaming with joy. I love them completely and absolutely.

In the summer of 2019, I saw them three times and would have bought more tickets had my bank account allowed. I once saw the singer in a food truck queue at a festival and was frozen solid, star-struck like never before. I was due to see them in 2020 before the pandemic.

These men who have no idea who I am changed my life. They’ve made me so, so happy. Until the next tour? There will be no next tour.